Health and Beauty Benefits of Grapeseed Oil

Fast facts on grapeseed oil. Here are some key points about grapeseed oil. More detail is in the main article.

  • Grapeseed oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids.
  • The oil can be used in hair and on the skin as part of your beauty regimen.
  • Buy expeller- or cold-pressed oil for use in the kitchen.

Grapeseed oil is a byproduct of winemaking. After the wine is made by pressing grapes, grape seeds are left behind. Grapeseed oil is extracted from these leftover grape seeds. Grapeseed oil is used as a natural beauty product. It’s also marketed as a healthy alternative to vegetable oil.

Is grapeseed oil safe to consume?

The health benefits of grapeseed oil are controversial. Part of this controversy is because of how the oil is processed. Most commercially available grapeseed oil is made using chemical solvents like hexane. Hexane is classified as an air pollutant and neurotoxin.

It’s unclear what effect consuming these solvents has on humans in trace amounts. During processing, grapeseed oil may also be heated to very high temperatures which may oxidize the oil and make it go bad.

Grapeseed oil that’s cold-pressed or expeller-pressed does not use chemical solvents or high heat during processing. It’s a better choice than oil made with solvents.

Health benefits of grapeseed oil

Grapeseed oil is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), mostly omega-6 fatty acids. According to the American Heart Association, PUFAs may be beneficial to your heart if they’re used in place of saturated fats and trans fats in your diet.

Research shows that PUFAS may reduce cholesterol and your risk of heart disease. But there’s a catch: Optimal health depends on the proper balance of omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids in your body. Most people get more than enough omega-6 fatty acids in their diet and not nearly enough omega-3s.

Studies show that too much omega-6 fatty acid may cause inflammation that may lead to chronic diseases, including cancer. If you’re already getting enough Omega-6 in your diet, regularly consuming grapeseed oil may put your omega-6 intake at unhealthy levels.

Vitamin E

Grapeseed oil is a good source of vitamin E, even more so than olive oil. Vitamin E is a vitamin that works as a fat-soluble antioxidant, which helps protect your cells from damaging free radicals that have been associated with cancer, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses. Vitamin E also supports your immune system. Research shows it may slow the progression of dementia, but more study is needed.

Vitamin E can withstand heat, and grapeseed oil has a high smoke point. But any cooking oil will deteriorate fast if overheated. Whenever possible, use cold-pressed or expeller-pressed grapeseed oil raw in your recipes.

Beauty benefits of grapeseed oil

Beauty companies use grapeseed oil in their skin care and hair care products. But there are no clinical studies on the effectiveness of grapeseed oil on the skin or hair. Even so, many people use grapeseed oil as a natural remedy in their at-home beauty arsenal.

Grapeseed oil for healthy skin

Many of grapeseed oil’s beauty benefits may be due to its vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acid content. Free radicals and environmental factors such as sun, wind, and pollution can do a number on your skin. They may increase the signs of aging and cause dry skin and discoloration.

Vitamin E helps battles free radicals so it may help improve your skin when consumed in your diet. The same benefits may apply when it’s applied directly to your skin in the form of grapeseed oil.

According to the Linus Pauling Institute, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are crucial to skin function and appearance. And omega-6 fatty acids are necessary for skin barrier functioning. The main omega-6 PUFA in grapeseed oil is linolenic acid. This fatty acid may help reduce inflammation in the skin’s middle and outer layers.

Other reasons grapeseed oil is used are to:

  • moisturize skin
  • heal acne
  • lighten skin
  • tighten pores
  • reduce the appearance of scars
  • remove makeup

Grapeseed oil penetrates your skin quickly and doesn’t leave your skin feeling oily. To use grapeseed oil on your face, massage several drops into clean skin before you go to bed at night. You can repeat the process in the morning if desired. Since grapeseed oil doesn’t clog pores, it’s ideal for all skin types, including oily skin that needs moisturizing.

Grapeseed oil for healthy hair

Grapeseed oil may improve the condition of your hair and scalp. If you have dandruff, which is often caused by a dry scalp, applying emollient grapeseed oil to your scalp can help loosen dead skin and restore moisture.

Some natural oils including olive oil and coconut oil are good for your hair, but they leave it feeling greasy and weighed down. Grapeseed oil is lightweight and doesn’t have that effect. When applied to your hair, grapeseed oil adds moisture, strength, and shine.

Try massaging a couple of tablespoons of grapeseed oil (using more or less, depending on the length of your hair) into your hair and scalp before shampooing.

Grapeseed oil is used as a natural remedy for baldness. Linolenic acid is thought to stimulate hair growth. The oil contains flavonoids called procyanidin oligomers. These are powerful antioxidants. In vitro and in vivo studies show procyanidin oligomers may induce hair growth, but more research is needed.

Grapeseed oil in aromatherapy

Chronic stress wreaks internal and external havoc on your body. It may lead to:

  • premature aging
  • rashes
  • dry skin
  • acne
  • hair loss

While grapeseed oil on its own can’t relieve stress, it does make a wonderful carrier oil for aromatherapy and aromatherapy massage. Aromatherapy may help relieve anxiety and reduce stress.

Cold-pressed or expeller-pressed grapeseed oil can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation. It has a neutral flavor and works well with many recipes. Grapeseed oil may also help keep your skin younger looking and your hair stronger and more luxurious. There are no known side effects of consuming grapeseed oil, but people who are allergic to grapes shouldn’t use it.

Natural products have the potential to cause an allergic reaction when used on the skin. Contact your doctor if you experience redness, itching, rash, or your condition worsens.

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12 Potential Health Benefits Of Eleuthero

Eleuthero is a plant that has been traditionally used as an immune system booster and a general stimulant.

Sometimes known as Siberian ginseng, eleuthero is native to Japan, northern China, southeastern Russia, South Korea, and North Korea.

What is Eleuthero?

There is evidence that eleuthero was first used as an herbal remedy in China some 2,000 years ago.

The plant is mostly used in traditional medicines as an adaptogen, a compound that helps the body better handle and adapt to stress. Eleuthero also acts as a stimulant, increasing nervous system function.

Although they have similar benefits and usages, eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus and Acanthopanax senticosus) is not related to American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) or true ginseng (Panax ginseng.)

12 potential health benefits

Eleuthero fruit RESIZE
Eleuthero bears fruit that can be eaten raw.

In traditional and herbal medicines, eleuthero is used to treat dozens of different health conditions.

However, the number of advantages tested and proven in animals and humans is far less. Most of the more established benefits of eleuthero still have unclear or conflicting evidence.

Potential health benefits of eleuthero include:

1. Increasing energy and reducing fatigue

As a stimulant, eleuthero boosts energy levels and contains compounds known to help overcome exhaustion and prevent its side effects.

One study found that eleuthero consumption significantly increased the exhaustion point of swimming mice by lessening the build up of lactic acid and blood urea nitrogen, in addition to increasing fat utilization.

2. Improving cognitive function

By increasing circulation, eleuthero may increase blood flow to the brain, improving mental functions such as memory and concentration.

3. Managing cancer

Panax ginseng has been shown to have anti-cancer or anti-tumor properties.

Research suggests eleuthero may have similar properties, especially in cases of lung cancer, but this claim requires more research.

4. Enhancing exercise

As a stimulant, eleuthero may increase the ability of muscles to do work, especially during periods of intense physical activity.

One study found that consuming 800 milligrams (mg) of eleuthero a day for 8 weeks increased a male subject’s endurance time by 23 percent, peak oxygen saturation by 12 percent, and highest heart rate by 3 percent.

5. Healing wounds and preventing ulcers

By boosting the immune system, eleuthero may improve or speed up the healing process.

Compounds in eleuthero have also been shown to prevent the formation of ulcers, including diabetic foot ulcers.

6. Increasing low blood pressure

As a stimulant, eleuthero increases circulation and heart rate and may raise blood pressure over time.

This may be beneficial for people with low blood pressure but can cause risks for people with hypertension.

7. Reducing osteoporosis

In several traditional medicines, eleuthero is used to increase muscle and bone strength.

In a 2013 study, rats given 100 mg of eleuthero daily for 8 weeks saw a 16.7 percent increase in femur bone density.

8. Managing menopause

Extracts of eleuthero and eleutherosides are known to bind to estrogen receptor sites.

Eleuthero may, therefore, lessen the effects of estrogen withdrawal in women who are experiencing menopause. For this reason, women with estrogen-driven cancer may need to consult their doctor before consuming eleuthero.

9. Reducing or limiting respiratory tract infections

As an immune stimulant, eleuthero may shorten the length and severity of lung infections, such as influenza and pneumonia.

10. Improving lymphatic function

Eleutherosides have been shown to improve the lymphatic function of the lymph node network, meaning they may reduce edema. Edema is swelling caused by a build up of fluid.

2016 study found eleuthero powder significantly reduced edema within 2 and 4 hours after consumption in 50 healthy volunteers.

11. Preventing and repairing nerve damage

Several studies have shown that eleutherosides may help prevent and repair nerve damage.

Eleuthero has been explored, as a potential preventative or management medication for progressive neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

One study found that eleuthero improved nerve regeneration and synapse reformation in rats with nerve damage.

12. Lowering or stabilizing blood sugar levels

Eleutherosides have been shown to reduce insulin resistance and are being considered for the management of type 2 diabetes.

A 2013 study found that 480 mg per day of eleuthero significantly lowered fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels in subjects with type 2 diabetes.

Buying Considerations

Eleuthero extracts are made using the plant’s bark, stems, leaves, or roots.

Eleuthero powder
Eleuthero is available as a powder.

The herb is sold in the form of capsules, tablets, a liquid or tincture, and as a powder.

It can also be used whole, and the herb’s dried leaves and stems can be boiled to make a tea. The plant’s fresh fruit may also be eaten raw.

Although it can be sold alone, eleuthero is also commonly found in multivitamins and tonics aimed at boosting immune function, increasing energy levels, and promoting vitality.

As with most herbal supplements, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the production, marketing, or sale of eleuthero. Therefore, a person should check the ingredients in products labeled as ginseng before buying or using them.

Eleutherosides, in particular, eleutheroside B, is usually the main bioactive ingredient, and a pharmacist should be able to recommend appropriate products that contain this.

How to use eleuthero

There is no standard recommended dosage for eleuthero. How the herb is used depends on the formula, form, and the benefit being sought.

The herb is not considered safe for use in children. For people over the age of 18, typical dosage and other recommendations include:

  • take between 300- and 1,200-mg daily, not exceeding 3- to 6-grams
  • take in the morning to avoid disrupting the sleep cycle
  • take doses between meals
  • take the supplement for no more than 6 weeks continuously followed by at least a 2-3 week break

It is important to talk with a doctor before taking herbal supplements. It can be helpful to take the bottle or product packaging for reference.

Health complications and risks

Herbal products can react with certain medications, causing a negative reaction or decreasing the effect of the medication. Also, herbal products may not be safe for people with certain health conditions.

Potential side effects of eleuthero usage include:

  • increased risk of sudden bleeding and hemorrhage
  • raised or lowered blood pressure
  • increased or reduced blood sugar levels
  • hormone changes, especially of cortisol
  • hives and contact dermatitis or skin rashes
  • gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea, nausea, and cramping
  • muscle spasms
  • nerve pain
  • cold extremities
  • nervousness or aggressiveness
  • headache
  • insomnia
  • confusion

Medications, health conditions, and consumables that increase the risk of side effects with eleuthero or require medical monitoring include:

  • bleeding disorders or conditions
  • medications that affect bleeding, such as heparin, warfarin (Coumadin®), and over-the-counter pain medications, including aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen
  • liver medications
  • heart failure medications, such as digoxin
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Hormone-regulating medications
  • anti-allergy medications
  • psychiatric or mental conditions
  • antidepressants
  • alcohol
  • radiotherapy
  • sedatives
  • anti-seizure medications
  • steroids
  • pregnancy
  • diabetes and insulin use
  • antibiotics or antivirals
  • vasodilators
  • ginkgo biloba
  • saw palmetto
  • garlic

Bilberry Health Benefits

If you haven’t heard of bilberry fruit, you shouldn’t be surprised. The plant is extremely difficult to grow, and since it bears small fruit it is seldom cultivated. The fruit that does exist is primarily from wild plants that grow throughout northern and central Europe where they are more plentiful. In fact, it’s often called European blueberry.

For comparison, bilberries are similar to blueberries and huckleberries, but smaller and with a fuller taste. Like most natural foods, there are a number of health benefits associated with this berry, the most notable being an improvement in eye health. British pilots during World War II actually ate bilberry jam before night raids in order to improve their vision.

Bilberry for Natural Eye Health

When you take a closer look at the berry, this bit of war lore is not too surprising. According to the book “100 Super Supplements for a Longer Life,” by Frank Murray, bilberry health benefits include protecting collagen structures found in the eyes. Bilberry can also prevent and treat macular degeneration and retinopathy. The anthocyanosides found in bilberry are known for their ability to help nourish and repair the tiny capillaries within the eye.

Bilberry for Cardiovascular Health

While eye health is a top benefit of bilberry, the benefits don’t stop there. Bilberry is also used to help improve cardiovascular health. According to a paper on bilberry written for the Center for Holistic Pediatric Education and Research by Dr. Kathi Kemper, bilberry can improve circulation and protect against circulatory-related disease. Dr. Kemper suggests that bilberry can also improve atherosclerosis and varicose veins. In addition, the bilberry bioflavonoids are beneficial to the connective tissue that lines blood vessels and binds ligaments throughout the body.

Bilberry as an Antioxidant

The plant is also an excellent source of antioxidants containing both anthocyanosides and Vitamin C. These antioxidants work to repair and reverse damage to cells from free radicals.

Natural Health Benefits of Bilberry

Historically, the berry has been credited with a number of health benefits including:

  • strengthening blood vessels
  • improving red blood cells
  • stabilizing collagen tissues
  • lowering cholesterol
  • increasing retinal pigments
  • lowering blood pressure
  • improving eyesight
  • improving night vision
  • preventing cataracts
  • anti-aging effects on collagen structures
  • soothing a sore throat
  • lowering blood sugar
  • lowering cholesterol levels
  • anticancer effects
  • blocking tumor growth

Traditionally, the leaves and the berries have been used to help with scurvy, urinary tract issues or challenges, kidney problems, and diarrhea.

How to Use Bilberry

There are a number of ways to consume this plant to take advantage of the many bilberry health benefits. In fact, in Poland, bilberries are put into sweet buns as a filling (such a bun is called a jagodzianka, and it is one of Poland’s most popular bakery products during summer). It can be harvested naturally from forests and eaten fresh in jams or other dishes. The fruit can also be dried, used in tea, or found in pill form.

For those without access to the fruit and looking to supplement, look for an extract standardized to 25% anthocyanins. 120 mg a day should suffice.

Belladonna

Despite being a very poisonous plant, people have used belladonna in many different ways throughout history.

While it has been used as a poison in the past, scientists today extract chemicals from belladonna for use in medicine. These chemicals, when used under a doctor’s supervision, can treat a range of afflictions, from excessive urination at night to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

What is belladonna?

Belladonna plant
The belladonna plant may also be called deadly nightshade.

Belladonna (Atropa belladonna) is a poisonous plant, native to parts of Asia and Europe. It is sometimes known as deadly nightshade.

Belladonna produces small, black berries that must not be eaten. Eating the berries or leaves can be deadly. Similar to poison ivy, a person whose skin comes into direct contact with the leaves may develop a rash.

In ancient times, people used belladonna for its toxic properties, as an oral poison or on the tips of arrows.

Some scholars believe that Shakespeare referenced belladonna in his play, “Romeo and Juliet.” It is possible that Belladonna was the poison that Juliet drank to fake her death.

As time progressed, people used belladonna for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. For example, doctors used it as an antiseptic before surgery in medieval Europe.

During the Italian Renaissance, which lasted from the 14th to 16th century, fashionable women drank the juice of belladonna berries to dilate their pupils. Belladonna owes its name to this practice, as it means “beautiful woman” in Italian.

In modern times, optometrists often use belladonna to help dilate pupils when examining a person’s eyes.

Other recent uses of belladonna include over-the-counter creams and other herbal supplements. Despite its commercial availability, people are strongly advised to use belladonna with caution and under a doctor’s care.

belladonnaMedicinal uses

When used correctly in appropriate doses, belladonna is safe to use as part of regular medicinal practices.

It is important to note that ingesting even small amounts of the leaves or berries can be deadly. Small children and infants are, particularly at risk. Be sure to use caution when storing medicines that contain belladonna.

Scopolamine and atropine

Belladonna contains chemicals used to treat conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.

Belladonna contains two chemicals used for medicinal purposes.

The first chemical is scopolamine, which is used primarily for reducing body discharges. It is also helpful in reducing stomach acid, which can help with both nausea and acid reflux.

Scopolamine is also used for controlling the heart rate and relaxing muscles.

The second compound extracted from belladonna is atropine. Similar to scopolamine, atropine can be used to help reduce bodily discharge, but it is not as effective as scopolamine when used as a muscle relaxant and in heart rate control.

Also, atropine can be used to dilate the eyes. In some cases, atropine works as an antidote to insect poison and chemical warfare agents.

Once extracted, one or both chemicals are combined with other medications to help treat some diseases and conditions.

Some of the treatments target:

  • motion sickness
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • stomach ulcers
  • excessive nighttime urination
  • diverticulitis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • pink eye

When taken as part of a prescribed medication, belladonna is considered mostly safe. Like all medicines, it can have side effects, and people should consider its use very carefully.

As with any potentially harmful medication, it is best to speak to a doctor before using a product containing belladonna.

Alternative medication

Like many well-known plants and extracts, belladonna is available in some over-the-counter alternative medications and supplements.

Unlike traditional medicines, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate supplements, which means they are often not tested for safety or the effectiveness of their claimed outcomes.

Companies that have made products containing belladonna state that it can improve various conditions. These include:

  • the common cold
  • fever
  • whooping cough
  • hay fever
  • earache
  • asthma
  • motion sickness
  • flu
  • a cough and sore throat
  • joint and back pain
  • arthritis pain
  • spasms, or colic-like pain in the stomach or bile ducts
  • nerve problems
  • gout
  • inflammation
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • hemorrhoids

Belladonna is an ingredient in creams, some liquids, ointments, and, in some cases, suppositories.

There is little research into belladonna’s effectiveness at treating any of the above conditions. It is important to consider the potential side effects before taking belladonna as a supplement.

Risks and side effects

Blurred vision and hallucinations are potential side effects of belladonna.

Belladonna is considered a toxic plant with historical uses as a poison. Despite being sold as an over-the-counter supplement, it is likely not safe to consume. It is also important to be aware that the FDA do not monitor the quality and purity of belladonna supplements.

There are some side effects to consider before using belladonna. These side effects include:

  • dry mouth
  • red, dry skin
  • inability to sweat
  • muscle spasms
  • blurred vision
  • enlarged pupils
  • hallucinations
  • inability to urinate
  • convulsions
  • seizures
  • coma

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may be at additional risk, as some of the belladonna’s side effects may appear in the unborn child, and it might dry up milk production.

In addition to the side effects, belladonna may make some conditions worse. These include disorders that some manufacturers claim Belladonna helps.

Conditions that belladonna can make worse include:

  • acid reflux
  • fever
  • rapid heartbeat
  • gastrointestinal (GI) tract infections
  • high blood pressure
  • constipation
  • urination problems

Belladonna has negative interactions with certain medications as well, such as those for allergies and depression. Side effects of the interaction include a rapid heartbeat and rashes.

Outlook

Belladonna can be a safe herbal supplement or part of medication but only when used properly under a doctor’s care and supervision. There are a number of side effects that should be considered before using belladonna as a supplement.

Additional research needs to be conducted to test the effectiveness of belladonna alongside the risks. Individuals should carefully consider their options before trying belladonna as a replacement or supplemental treatment.

Oregano Oil Health Benefits

Oregano oil is widely known as nature’s potent defense against harmful organisms. Not only is it highly respected within the natural health community, it is also being widely studied within the scientific community for its vast medical uses.

Research designed to examine oregano oil has encompassed many topics. Oregano oil also has extremely high levels of free-radical-fighting antioxidants, agents that protect the body.

Oregano oil may also provide support for indications of common infectious ailments including respiratory problems, skin problems, athlete’s foot, yeast infections and harmful organisms.

Research on Oregano Oil

Studies have shown its usefulness against Candida albicans, Aspergillus mold, staph, vaginal imbalance, Pseudomonas, and listeria. A study from the US Department of Agriculture showed that oregano essential oils presented potent action against Salmonella and E.coli. Other research holds the same, stating that oregano oil is such a powerful agent that it can be used to preserve food. Studies from the Department of Food Science at the University of Tennessee and the University of the Algarve found that similar results for oregano’s power against pathogenic germs.

A recent study from the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University Medical Center stated the following in regard to the role of essential oils for infections:

    • “New, safe agents are needed to prevent and overcome severe bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Based on our previous experience and that of others, we postulated that herbal essential oils, such as those of origanum (oregano oil)…offer such possibilities.”

In an article published on Science Daily, oil of oregano was found to be effective in killing Staphylococcus bacteria.

Another study published in the journal, Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology found that oregano oil could lower the negative effects of induced colitis in rats and opens the door to new ideas about its benefit to the colon and liver.

More Health Benefits of Oregano Oil

  • Resistant to redness and swelling
  • Can help relieve congestion
  • Emmenagogue — Oregano oil can aid irregular menstruation and reduce the negative effects of menopause.
  • Calms sensitivities to environmental irritants. Oregano oils produce a sedating effect on the hyper-sensitivity of allergies.
  • Potent anti-oxidant capacity — Through neutralizing free-radicals, oregano oil helps us slow the process of cellular deterioration, thus slowing the process of aging.
  • Rosmarinic acid, a component of oil of oregano, is an antihistamine, and a more powerful antioxidant than vitamin E.
  • Digestive aid — Stimulates the flow of bile in the digestive organs
  • With regular use, oregano oil can help protect us against fungal infections.

Action Against Harmful Organisms

  • A recent study on the activity of multiple essential oils against harmful organisms found that both oregano and thyme oils showed the strongest activity.
  • Inhibition of the growth of enteric organisms. A 6-weeks study on individuals with organisms found that supplementation with 600 mg of oregano oil daily led to a complete disappearance of the harmful organisms. It may also protect us against a wide variety of infiltration within the body, as well as the physical environment. This includes round worms, tape worms, bed bugs, lice, fleas, and mosquitoes.

Oregano oil is also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. It is high in the vitamins A C, and E complex, as well as zinc, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese and niacin.

I have used oregano oil for many different things over the years and highly recommend you keep some in your natural medicine cabinet. When researching oil of oregano products to buy, be sure to look at the amount of Carvacrol it contains, and also try to buy organic when possible. Oregatrex™ is the oregano oil product that I personally use and recommend for everyone.

Oregano Oil Benefits to Support Your Health Naturally

Oregano oil is extracted from the oregano plant (Origanum vulgare), a perennial herb from the flowering plant family Lamiaceae. Thanks to its high concentration of antioxidants, carvacrol, and other critical vitamins and nutrients, the health benefits of oregano oil are truly staggering. Oregano oil may support gastrointestinal, respiratory, and skin health. Additionally, its chemical makeup is a powerful force against harmful organisms.

Unlike the dried leaves used in cooking, organic oregano oil provides the health benefits of both the leaf and flower in a few concentrated drops. The potency of oregano oil is due to carvacrol, the compound in the leaves and flowers that are responsible for most of the oregano’s positive health benefits. There are over fifty different types of oregano. Mediterranean varieties of oregano, like those grown in Turkey, usually have the highest amount of carvacrol. These varieties include Origanum heracleoticum and Origanum vulgare, among others.

According to Greek myth, oregano was a beloved and cherished herb of the goddess Aphrodite. She grew it in her garden atop Mount Olympus. Given this history, it’s no surprise that oregano has been studied intensely and its benefits for human health are well known. Below are the top nine you should know about.

1. Calms Lip Blemishes

Many people apply oregano oil to lip blemishes with the belief it will help soothe the area and accelerate healing time. Research is ongoing to pinpoint the validity of this use. Carvacrol may promote resistance against the harmful organisms that cause lip blemishes.

2. Helps with Food Preservation

Spices and herbs, like oregano, have a long history of food preservation and safety. Many types of food, especially raw meat, are a haven for harmful bacteria. Oregano oil may help resist harmful organisms. In one study, a concentrated application of carvacrol slowed the growth of lab cultures or caused them to stop multiplying altogether. Other studies show that essential oils, including oregano, halt the spread of organisms in spoiled fruit juice and aged meat.

3. Soothes Muscle Discomfort

Oregano itself is tremendously soothing and research shows that oregano oil may be helpful for reducing muscle discomfort. In one study, carvacrol was administered orally to mice and measured against opioid-based pain medication. The study concluded that carvacrol offered benefits similar to opioid drugs while being safer.

4. Promotes Intestinal Balance

Maintaining a proper balance of healthy bacteria in your intestines and gut is crucial for supporting good health. A healthy colony of intestinal flora encourages proper digestion and boosts the immune system. Good bacteria also support the immune system and help balance mood. Carvacrol may help promote gut health by creating an appropriate balance of good bacteria and bad bacteria.

5. Eases Bone and Joint Discomfort

Swelling and redness of the joints is an uncomfortable ailment that affects many people. Preliminary studies suggest that carvacrol may offer hope for soothing bones and joints.

6. Resists Harmful Organisms

If you travel to underdeveloped areas of the world, you’ll be exposed to organisms that can wreak havoc on your health. Avoiding the water may be insufficient. Harmful organisms in the natural environment carry a high risk, especially if the body is already in poor health. Research has shown that carvacrol may support the body’s natural response to toxic invaders.

7. Encourages Normal Yeast Balance

Yeast and fungus exist everywhere, even on and in the human body; total eradication is next to impossible. Balance, however, is both desirable and achievable with the help of carvacrol. In a study that examined the use of essential oils as a means to address fungus, carvacrol was among the most effective. Likewise, oregano oil is helpful for promoting balanced candida, a fungus that commonly falls out of balance from poor diet, stress, or antibiotics.

8. Supports Liver Health

Toxins exist in our water, food, and even the air we breathe. The ever-present barrage of toxins in our environment is extraordinary, and the burden it places on the liver is equally mind boggling. Carvacrol may support the normal function of the liver, the body’s primary detoxifying organ.

9. Boosts the Immune System

Gut health, toxins, and lifestyle all play a role in your body’s ability to stay healthy. Oregano oil supports many of the critical factors that ultimately contribute to a strong immune system. In addition to oregano oil’s ability to encourage better gut health, it supplies the body with powerful antioxidants. Eating a healthy diet rich in plants, like oregano encourages a balanced, healthy environment within your body.

Choosing the Right Oregano Oil

If you are looking for the best oregano oil, remember the importance of carvacrol. Global Healing Center has pioneered a new industry standard of high-quality oregano oil with Oregatrex™. It’s a liquid herbal extract that has a minimum carvacrol content of 80% and includes organic peppermint, cayenne, and olive oil. This potent blend supports digestive health and supports the body’s response to harmful organisms.

What About Fresh or Dried Oregano?

Like oregano oil, fresh or dried oregano is packed full of nutritional benefits. Oregano leaf is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, iron, calcium, and potassium. Fresh oregano is loaded with beneficial antioxidants. Oregano blended with other herbs can contain as many or more antioxidants as fruit, berries, and vegetables.

Tips for Growing Oregano

Can’t find the right organic, non-GMO oregano? Then maybe it’s time to grow your own. Like many herbs, it’s easy. With a little bit of work, you’ll be harvesting home-grown oregano in no time.

To start growing oregano, you need some oregano seeds (if you are using cuttings or container plants you can skip these first steps). The variety you should choose depends on your intended use. For a high carvacrol content, Mediterranean varieties are your best bet. Search for the Origanum vulgare variety, which is sometimes referred to as “Greek” oregano. Shop around for a trusted seed supplier who can provide organic, non-GMO seeds. The designation of “heirloom seeds” may assure that the seeds are non-GMO.

Once you have found your seeds, plant this perennial herb in early spring following the last frost of the year. Oregano does best in full sunlight. Check your soil and make sure it’s well drained and has a good mixture of sand, clay, and decaying organic material. If you are not sure if your soil is right, ask a local greenery for compost and fertilizer suggestions.

When your planting location is prepared, it’s time to plant. Place small groups of seeds approximately ¼ inch down and 10 inches apart. Next, cover the seeds with soil and water. Check your plants often. When the soil is dry to the touch, it’s time to water thoroughly.

You may see sprouting after just five days, but exact timing may vary. Oregano leaves will be ready to harvest once the plant reaches about four inches in height, but you may want to wait until they are around eight inches high before taking the leaves. Don’t wait too long to harvest. The best flavors for culinary use come from the leaves before the plant flowers, usually sometime in early July. Instead of taking off individual leaves, harvesting may be done by cutting off whole stems with the leaves still attached.

After harvesting, tie the stems together and hang upside down in a cool, dry environment—preferably indoors—to dry. After 5-7 days, the oregano leaves should be ready. Remove the leaves and store them in an airtight, glass container for up to one year.

10 Uses for Organic Oregano Oil

Hands down, oregano oil is one of the best natural supplements you can get. It’s produced from the perennial herb oregano and loaded with free-radical-crushing antioxidants. A growing body of research has shown that oregano oil offers many positive health benefits and is one of the most potent natural remedies in existence. In particular, there has been a significant evaluation of its effects against harmful organisms; investigations even been made by major pharmaceutical companies. Let’s take a look at why there’s so much interest in oregano oil and its 10 best uses.

What Are the Top 10 Uses for Oregano Oil?

1. Immune System Support

There’s a lot of evidence to show that oregano oil is a powerful tool for the immune system, especially when it encounters outside invaders. One study straight from the United States Department of Agriculture reported that oregano oil has such a strong action against germs that it could easily defeat Salmonella.

These findings were echoed by researchers the Department of Physiology & Biophysics at Georgetown University Medical Center who said, “New, safe agents are needed to…overcome harmful organisms… Based on our previous experience and that of others, we postulated that herbal essential oils, such as those of origanum (oregano oil) offer such possibilities.”

2. Protection Against Harmful Organisms

If you’ve consumed undercooked meat or impure water, or countless other risky actions, harmful organisms are likely to be residing inside of your body. Thankfully, oregano oil is shown to be extremely useful for getting rid of these unwanted invaders. One study examined the relationship between oregano oil and harmful organisms and found that taking 600 mg of oregano oil daily prompted a complete disappearance of harmful organisms in the body.

3. Promotes a Balanced Mood

Studies have found that some compounds in oregano oil, including carvacrol, thymol, and terpinene may positively influence the nervous system and mind. Aromatherapy with oregano oil seems to promote a healthy mood, reduce stress, and inhibit emotional abnormalities.

4. Digestive Aid

I’ve said it a million times—health begins in the gut! Good digestion is absolutely necessary to experience good health. While I recommend using an oxygen-based colon cleanser to clean out your digestive tract, stopping the build-up in the first place needs to be part of the plan, and oregano oil can help. Oregano oil is known to stimulate the flow of bile into the digestive organs, enhancing the digestive process.

5. Menstrual Aid

Irregular, uncomfortable periods and unpleasant effects from menopause are a big problem for many women; one of the best natural remedies is oregano oil. It may actually help support regular menstruation and protect against negative menopause experiences. For women, this is a substantial bonus to the already lengthy list of uses and effects of oregano oil.

6. Supports Graceful Aging

Perhaps the hottest health trend of the past few years is the science of combatting aging. It’s important to understand that aging is largely affected by oxidation and free radicals, which is why antioxidants are so effective. Oregano oil offers a huge amount of antioxidants that can aid in the defense against these aging-accelerators.

7. Allergy Support

If you suffer from allergies and environmental sensitivities, the soothing properties of oregano oil are appealing. Oregano oil can produce a sedating effect on the hypersensitivity of allergies, which ultimately encourages relief. For those wishing to avoid harsh medications, oregano oil may be a natural alternative for curtailing the undesirable effects associated with environmental sensitivities.

8. Weight Loss

In addition to its reputation as a natural immune booster, oregano oil also packs a punch against unwanted body fat. Its main active ingredient, carvacrol, is thought to modulate genes and reduce irritation in white adipose tissue. In one study, when fed a high-fat diet, mice not given carvacrol quickly became obese. In contrast, mice given carvacrol gained significantly less weight and even had lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in their blood.

9. Eases Discomfort

Aches and stiffness can wreak havoc and negatively impact your quality of life. Many people use oil of oregano topically and say that it feels like it goes deep inside their skin to relieve sore joints and muscle discomfort. Simply create a 50/50 mixture of organic oregano oil and organic olive oil and apply topically to the affected area for relief. If you suffer from sore muscles, sports injuries, and backaches, this is one benefit you’ll appreciate.

10. May Help You Feel Better When You Have a Cold

Oregano oil isn’t a cure for the cold, but it can help you feel better. The essential oil can help promote easy breathing, calm a cough, and soothe a sore throat. Many people claim that when they start to feel under the weather, they place 3-6 drops into an empty capsule and take 2-3 times daily before meals. A 5-10 day regimen has been reported as doing wonders.

Supplementing with Oregano Oil

Oregano oil is an absolute must-have item for any medicine cabinet or emergency kit. The array of benefits it offers makes it one of the best all-around supplements you can get. Remember, as with any health product, quality matters tremendously.

Oregatrex™, Global Healing Center’s oregano oil blend, is organic, has an extra virgin olive oil base, and at least 80% carvacrol. It’s also blended with peppermint oil and capsaicin (the compound that gives peppers their heat) for added resistance to harmful organisms.

It’s easy to get started with an organic oregano oil blend like Oregatrex. Simply shake the bottle, place 1-6 drops in a vegetarian capsule (included), and take at the beginning of your meal, 2-3 times daily or as recommended by your physician. Capsaicin is a great ingredient and wonderful substance in its own right, but it is hot, so it’s best to avoid consuming oregano oil liquid directly. Keep it away from your eyes and don’t leave it where children or pets could get into it.

Top 10 Health Benefits of Thyme

There are few things a sprig of thyme won’t make immensely better. This versatile herb blends well with a myriad of flavors and is packed full of health-promoting compounds, vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients.

Thyme belongs to the genus Thymus which is part of the mint family and closely related to oregano—another powerful herb. Native to the Southern Mediterranean regions, this perennial herb is now grown around the world for its culinary and therapeutic uses. While this herb will liven up your cooking, thyme may also help expel harmful organisms from your body and support your mental and physical health.

What Is Thyme?

Thyme is an evergreen herb that blooms with small white, pink, and purple flowers. They hybridize easily and grow quickly in sunny areas with well-drained soil. Thanks to its ease of cultivation and growth, there are over 300 varieties of thyme in existence today. Each variety has unique flavors and applications for cooking, oils, medicines, or decoration. Common thyme (T. vulgaris) and lemon thyme (T. citriodorus) are used for cooking, while Spanish thyme (T. zygis) and creeping thyme (T. serpyllum) are popular in many herbal supplements.

History of Thyme

People’s love and admiration for thyme is nothing new. The recorded history of thyme extends back to ancient Egypt and Rome. Egyptians used thyme as part of their mummification process and Romans ate it before meals and gave it to soldiers as a sign of courage and admiration. In fact, the Latin word for thyme, thymus, means courage and strength. This tradition of giving thyme to soldiers carried on through the middle ages when people in England started using thyme as a cooking herb.

Nutrients in Thyme

Thyme has remained influential over the years in part because of its health benefits, all of which are owed to its diverse profile of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutritional compounds. Thyme is an excellent source of fiber, calcium, iron, manganese, and vitamins A, B6, and C. There are also robust phenols inside the plant—thymol, eugenol, and carvacrol.

Here is the nutritional breakdown of one tablespoon of fresh thyme.

Nutrient Amount
Protein 0.1 g
Fiber 0.3 g
Calcium 10 mg
Copper .01 mg
Manganese .04 mg
Magnesium 4 mg
Iron 0.4 mg
Phosphorus 15 mg
Potassium 5 mg
Riboflavin 17.7 mg
Thiamin 0.117 mg
Riboflavin .01 mg
Zinc .04 mg
Vitamin A .03 mg
Vitamin B6 .008 mg
Vitamin C 3.8 mg
Zinc .04 mg

Top 10 Health Benefits of Thyme

Here is a list of impressive health benefits that have been corroborated by recent studies and research.

1. Resists Harmful Organisms

Thyme contains potent chemical compounds like thymol and carvacrol which are resistant to harmful organisms. Studies have found that thyme promotes fungal balance. Some studies even show compounds found in thyme and oregano oil are helpful as part of a comprehensive strategy for dealing with some types of organisms that are particularly aggressive.

2. Supports Respiratory Health

Respiratory health is important, especially for those with compromised immune systems. Thyme supports normal respiratory health in every season. Studies show that thyme combined with primrose root helps soothe your airways and promote normal lung health.

3. Promotes Heart Health

Blood pressure and cholesterol both play a significant role in heart health. Thyme contains nutrients that support normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

4. Mood Booster

Thyme may help maintain mental wellness. Daily consumption of thyme and oregano oil can influence neurotransmitters and boost your mood. One compound found in thyme oil, carvacrol, when consumed over a seven-day period, positively affected dopamine and serotonin status.

5. Encourages Healthy-looking Skin

For years, nurses wrapped thyme into bandages to help wounds heal. Recent studies confirm that thyme does have the ability to support skin health. One study even noted thyme might contribute to reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

6. Natural Bug Repellent

Thyme is a favorite herb to grow at home. Not only is it convenient for cooking, but it may help keep your home bug free. Thyme acts as a natural repellent for mosquitoes and other pests.

7. Powerful Antioxidant

Thyme is a great source of antioxidants such as apigenin, luteolin, saponins, and tannins. These antioxidant compounds help neutralize free radicals before they can cause harm and oxidative stress. Thyme and iron are often taken together to help keep a better balance and reduce the chances of oxidative stress from occurring.

8. Soothes Occasional Coughs and Sore Throats

For years, thyme has been used to support seasonal wellness. Many studies have validated this use, showing thyme’s ability to help your body get over an occasional cough and sore throat.

9. Promotes Oral Health

Thyme, along with other herbs, can support good oral health. Thyme essential oils can protect against harmful organisms that target the mouth, and help prevent bad breath.

10. Food Safety and Preservation

While thyme is a well-liked addition to many dishes, it can be used for more than taste. Thyme’s resistance to harmful organisms is something that’s been observed and harnessed by large-scale food producers. Thyme essential oil is an effective, natural way to preserve food and increase shelf life.

Thyme Side Effects

Thyme has no documented side effects. The primary concern with using fresh thyme or thyme essential oils is the possibility of having an allergic reaction. Beyond any known allergies, thyme is considered safe and gentle to eat or apply topically.

Adding Thyme to Your Diet

You can grow thyme at home or buy it fresh at most grocery stores and farmer’s markets. Fresh thyme is perfect for making tinctures, teas, or adding to food dishes. Dried thyme is also found in any spice aisle and is an excellent way to keep the herb in your home at all times. Thyme essential oils are also a great way to access the benefits of thyme quickly and easily. Not all essential oils are food grade, but thyme essential oils can be used in a diffuser or applied topically.

You can also take thyme therapeutically to reap its many health benefits. While thyme is great on its own, its nutritional profile and unique properties make it a worthwhile addition to some supplement formulas. Global Healing Center uses the highest quality organic thyme in our revolutionary iron supplement, Iron Fuzion™. Thyme extracts in Iron Fuzion provide nutrients that can help your body absorb and use iron.

Thyme Oil Shows Success in Killing MRSA

Nearly 20 thousand Americans die each year due to complications that stem from Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or better known as MRSA. This “Super Staph” has received a lot of media coverage, and for good reason, it’s scary. A regular Staph infection isn’t remarkably dangerous or difficult to treat. In fact, it’s perfectly normal for a healthy person to have some Staphylococcus bacteria living on their skin or inside their nasal cavity at any given time. The only time it becomes a serious issue is if it’s somehow able to penetrate the skin through an opening such as a cut or a surgical incision, at which point it can require medical attention.

What is MRSA?

MRSA is not regular Staph. It doesn’t respond to the normal treatment methods that work with other species of Staphylococcus bacteria, and because of this, it is much more dangerous. Because of it’s increased tenacity, MRSA is much more likely to eventually work its way below the skin into parts of the body where it can cause serious damage.

Once under the surface, MRSA can quickly contaminate the bloodstream and other systems such as the urinary tract. If left untreated, it can eventually work its way into the heart, lungs and other internal organs, where it can create a life-threatening situation even in otherwise healthy individuals. The overall impact on people with weakened immune functions (such as children and the elderly) can be obviously much more severe.

Staph is a remarkably resilient bacteria. It’s also able to quickly adapt to new antibiotics. In fact, less than half of today’s infections respond to the commonly used antibiotic, methicillin. Hence the name “Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.” Less than 10 percent of the bacteria is believed to still be responsive to traditional penicillin-based antibiotics. These adaptations have forced many doctors to recommend much more powerful and potentially toxic antibiotic drugs to treat infections. That is, until recently…

New Study Offers Surprise Treatment for MRSA

A new study presented in the International Journal of Essential Oil Therapeutics shows how simple thyme oil could be the solution the medical world has been searching for. A research team at the University of Brighton, East Sussex tested the effects of essential thyme oil on cultivated staphylococcus with great success. Their goal is to now determine its usefulness in actual patients infected with the resistant bacteria in order to develop better long-term treatment options.

Organic Thyme plant

The secret to the success of essential oils in treating MRSA may be the fact that no two batches of oil are exactly the same. The minor variations in plant chemistry are believed to make adaptation more difficult for bacteria. Certain other botanical oils, such as geranium, tea tree, and oregano oil, are also thought to be helpful in fighting resistant Staph. Some researchers theorize that some sort of cocktail treatment may offer the best overall solution to this ongoing problem.

In light of these recent findings, it’s a good idea to stock up on organic oregano oil and thyme oil.

Health Benefits of PassionFlower

Passionflower is the common name of any one of the approximately 400 species of the plant genus Passiflora. Native to warm climates in North and South America, many species are now cultivated around the world for their colorful flowers and tasty fruit. Passion flower is also known for its therapeutic benefits. For hundreds of years, people used it as an herbal sedative, stress reducer, sleep aid, and many other applications.

History and Etymology

Natives of both North and South America used passion flower for food, drink, and therapeutic purposes for hundreds of years before the plant was first introduced to European explorers. By the 18th century, passionflower gained popularity in Europe as a remedy for epilepsy and insomnia. Today, the plant is cultivated worldwide.

With a name like “passionflower,” you might think the plant was traditionally used as some sort of aphrodisiac, like horny goat weed. Nothing could be further from the truth. The “passion” in passion flower actually refers to the passion of Christ. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish missionaries in Peru saw the unusual flower as a symbol of the crucifixion. The blue and white colors of the flower were thought to stand for heaven and purity, the radial filaments symbolized the crown of thorns, and the tendrils represented Roman whips.

PassionFlower Species

The genus Passiflora contains over 500 different species, many of which are hybrids. Passiflora incarnata is the species most appreciated for its therapeutic benefits. Also known as maypop, P. incarnata is native to the southern United States but used throughout the world.

Passiflora edulis

Passiflora edulis is a South American species widely cultivated for its fruit. While many species of Passiflora bear edible fruit, P. edulis is the one that bears “passion fruit.” Passion fruit comes in two forms—the standard purple fruit and a yellow variety.

Passiflora alata

Passiflora alata, also known as wing-stem passion flower or fragrant granadilla, is another South American species. It’s known for its therapeutic applications and prized for its fruit. It’s earned the British Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit, a prestigious distinction of excellence in the gardening world.

Passiflora quadrangularis

Passiflora quadrangularis, also known as giant granadilla, produces the largest fruits (about the size of a football) of all Passiflora. These fruits are used in desserts, juice, and medicine. The leaves are made into tea and poultices.

Health Benefits of PassionFlower

In the United States, passionflower is regarded as alternative or complementary medicine, but it has more mainstream acceptance around the world, particularly in Europe. The plant is listed in the European Pharmacopoeia, a book that provides Europe’s legal and scientific standards for medicine. In Germany, P. incarnata is approved for nervous restlessness, sleeplessness, and anxiety-related gastrointestinal problems. All the above-ground parts of the plant—the stem, flowers, and particularly the leaves—are thought to be helpful.

Promotes a Balanced Mood

Passionflower is best known for its relaxing and calming effects. Multiple human and animal studies have confirmed it’s effective at supporting a balanced mood without harmful side effects. Studies have found that while prescription medications work faster, they also produce problems, including dizziness and job-related impairment. Passion flower is far more gentle.

Combining passionflower with other calming herbs can increase its potency. A randomized, placebo-controlled study revealed that a combination of passionflower, valerian, and St. John’s wort had positive effects on mood without causing cognitive impairment.

Promotes Restful Sleep

Passionflower is commonly used to support restful sleep and the evidence to support this use isn’t just anecdotal. Multiple studies confirm the plant’s ability to help you get a good night’s rest. In 2011, a double-blind investigation found that participants who drank passion flower tea reported better sleep quality than the placebo group.

Effect on Involuntary Muscle Contractions

Some studies have found that passionflower extract delays the onset and decreases the duration of involuntary muscle contractions. Interestingly, it also seems to reduce unhappy feelings after involuntary muscle contraction episodes whereas standard treatments tend to increase them. No conclusions can be drawn at this time but further research could uncover hope for those who suffer from involuntary muscle contractions and irregular electrical activity in the brain.

May Ease the Symptoms of Withdrawal

Passionflower may provide gentle relief for symptoms of withdrawal. A double-blind, randomized study found that a daily serving of passionflower extract helped address both physical and mental symptoms of withdrawal. What’s more, the extract had no detrimental side effects.

Many smokers start and fail cessation programs because they can’t overcome the nicotine withdrawal. Can passionflower help? Animal studies have found that administration of passion flower extract reduces nicotine withdrawal symptoms. More research is necessary to determine if these effects carry over to humans.

Other Health Benefits

Passionflower offers many more potential benefits. A compound isolated from passion flower extract was found to have aphrodisiac effects in mice. Recent animal testing also hints that P. incarnata promotes balanced blood sugar, a property that traditional Ayurvedic medicine has known for years.

Further, research suggests that passionflower could help promote comfort, respiratory health, digestive health, balanced blood sugar, and even attention and focus. Laboratory testing has found that passionflower extract may enhance the absorption and effectiveness of some types of medicine. If even half of these abilities prove effective, the therapeutic benefits could be huge.

Passion Flower Active Components

Different species of passionflower contain similar, but chemically distinct, compounds.
With so many species, identifying the exact components that account for passionflower’s health benefits can be somewhat difficult. And, despite intense investigation, the source of its calming properties is still up for speculation.

One theory attributes credit to a particular alkaloid compound in the plant. The many species of Passiflora contain many different alkaloid compounds and the most studied are harmine. Harmine is a beta-carboline alkaloid known to possess a variety of pharmacological effects. It helps slow the breakdown of neurotransmitters, improves insulin sensitivity, relaxes blood vessels, encourages bone health, and supports a balanced mood.

Passionflower is also host to several flavonoids including apigenin, orientin, swertiamarin, quercetin, kaempferol, vitexin, and chrysin. Any one of, or a combination of, these phytochemicals could contribute to the plant’s therapeutic effects. Flavonoids are a large group of phytochemicals that have been analyzed for neuroprotective activity. They also exhibit soothing, equilibrium-seeking effects.

One other possible mechanism of action could be gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which means that it helps induce relaxation and sleep. It’s produced naturally in the brain. Research finds that passionflower may boost GABA levels and promote relaxation. Due to the variation of passionflower species and methods of passion flower administration, these findings are not yet conclusive.

PassionFlower Side Effects and Safety

When used as recommended, passionflower is considered safe for most people. However, adverse effects may result from taking extremely large servings. Do not combine passion flower with sedatives like drugs or alcohol. The combination can magnify their effects and cause dizziness or confusion.

Pregnant women should also avoid passionflower. One animal study found it may contribute to uterine contractions. Whether this effect carries over to humans is still unknown but exercising caution seems appropriate. Always consult a trusted health care practitioner before starting a new supplement routine.

Available Forms of PassionFlower

There are several ways to consume passionflower. The fruit can be eaten raw or made into juice, jams, dessert toppings, and smoothies. The leaves, flowers, and stem can be dried or used to make powders, tinctures, infusions, and extracts. Passionflower herbal tea is popular and frequently used as a sleep aid. Passionflower can also be found in nutritional supplements, both by itself and blended with other botanicals. Because of its support for balanced mood, we incorporate passion flower into our brain and mood support supplement NeuroFuzion®.

The first Americans knew of the mood-supporting, sleep-enhancing powers of passion flower. Now, we are rediscovering these benefits and more. If you have experience unhappiness or restless sleep, passionflower might be worth a try.

 

 

 

Cilantro: Health Benefits

The health benefits of fresh herbs are often overlooked; however, they can be just as essential to a healthy diet as fruits and vegetables thanks to their high antioxidant content.

Learning how to use fresh herbs and spices like cilantro to flavor food can also help to cut down on sodium intake.

In this article, we will give a brief history of cilantro, describe its nutritional content, and discuss possible health benefits.

Fast facts on cilantro

Here are some key points about cilantro. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.

  • There is archaeological evidence that cilantro has been enjoyed for thousands of years
  • Cilantro contains chemicals that help foods stay fresher for longer
  • One-fourth of a cup of cilantro contains 5 percent of the daily value of vitamin A

What is cilantro?

Cilantro
Learning how to use fresh herbs and spices like cilantro can help to cut down on sodium intake.

Cilantro is an annual herb from the family Apiaceae, which contains 3,700 species including carrots, celery, and parsley.

All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and dried seeds are most commonly used in cooking.

Often known in the United Kingdom as coriander, cilantro comes from the plant Coriandrum sativum.

In the United States, the leaves of the plant are referred to as cilantro (the Spanish translation) and the seeds are called coriander. Cilantro is also commonly known as Chinese parsley.

This article focuses on the health benefits of the leaves of the Coriandrum plant.

Cilantro has been a part of human cuisine for a long time. Dried traces of cilantro were found in a cave in Israel that dated to around 6,000 BC. Remnants have also been found in ancient Egypt, showing that its use was widespread even in ancient civilizations.

Moving forward a few thousand years, cilantro was brought to the early British colonies in North America in 1670, making it one of the first spices to be cultivated by the early settlers.

Possible health benefits of cilantro

Consuming plant-based foods of all kinds has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions.

Some studies suggest that increasing consumption of plant foods like cilantro decreases the risk of obesity, overall mortality, diabetes, and heart disease while promoting healthy skin and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight.

Natural preservative

Due to its high antioxidant content, oil extracted from the leaves of cilantro has been shown to inhibit unwanted oxidation when added to other foods, delaying or preventing spoilage.

A compound found in the leaves and seeds of cilantro – dodecanal – has also been found to have an antibacterial effect against Salmonella. In laboratory tests, dodecanal was twice as efficient at killing Salmonella than the commonly used medicinal antibiotic gentamicin.

“We were surprised that dodecanal was such a potent antibiotic. The study suggests that people should eat more salsa with their food, especially fresh salsa.”

Isao Kubo, lead researcher

Lead detoxification

Cilantro has been found to suppress lead accumulation in rats, which gives promise for the use of cilantro to combat lead and other heavy metal toxicity. Because of its chelation abilities, cilantro is also being studied as a natural water purifier.

The antimicrobial and heavy metal chelation factors of cilantro have led to its recent use in many “detoxification” juices and drinks.

Nutritional breakdown of cilantro

One-fourth cup of cilantro (about 4 grams) contains:

  • 1 calorie
  • 0 grams of fat
  • 0 grams of carbs
  • 0 grams of protein
  • 2 percent daily value of vitamin C
  • 5 percent daily value of vitamin A

Cilantro also contains vitamin K and small amounts of folate, potassium, manganese, and choline, as well as the antioxidants beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

How to incorporate more cilantro into your diet

Adding cilantro is a great way to add flavor to a dish or beverage without adding extra calories, fat, or sodium.

Cilantro is a tender herb (along with mint and basil) which has gentle leaves that are best to add either raw or near the end of cooking in order to maintain their delicate flavor and texture.

Cilantro is relatively easy to grow and can thrive in small pots on a sunny windowsill.

When preparing cilantro, separate the leaves from the stems and only use the leaves. Use a sharp knife and cut gently.

Cutting with a dull knife or over-chopping will bruise the herb, and much of the flavor will be misplaced onto the cutting board surface.

Cilantro pairs well with many dishes, especially Mexican or Thai dishes and those with beans, cheese, eggs, and fish. Cilantro is also great with creamy vegetable dips and as a topping or garnishes for soups and salads.

Take a look at these healthful recipes using cilantro and experiment with cilantro in your own recipes at home:

It is fine to use dried herbs and spices as well. One study from the UCLA School of Medicine reported that nine popular herbs and spices, including cilantro, dill, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, oregano, and parsley, were able to retain their antioxidant capacity during the drying process.

Possible health risks of consuming cilantro

It is the total diet or overall eating pattern that is most important in disease prevention and achieving good health. It is better to eat a diet with variety than to concentrate on individual foods as the key to good health.

Echinacea: Health Benefits, Uses, Research

Echinacea is a very popular herb and people commonly take it to help combat flu and colds. It is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the daisy family – Asteraceae. It is also known as the American coneflower.

Echinacea was commonly used by Native Americans for hundreds of years before the arrival of European explorers, settlers, and colonizers. It is endemic to eastern and central North America and thrives in moist to dry prairies and open woodlands.

By the early 1800s Echinacea became a popular herbal remedy among those who had settled in the USA, and soon became commonly used in Europe as well. It became much more popular after research was carried out on it in Germany in the 1920s.

Echinacea is available OTC (over the counter) at pharmacies, health shops and supermarkets as teas, liquid extracts, a dried herb, and as capsules or tablets.

Promoters of Echinacea say that the herb encourages the immune system and reduces many of the symptoms of colds, flu and some other illnesses, infections, and conditions.

Echinacea is a perennial plant, it lasts for many years. It is approximately from 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 centimeters) tall when mature. It is slightly spiky and has large purple to pink flowers, depending on the species. The center of the flower has a seed head (cone), which is also spiky and dark brown to red in color.

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Echinacea purpurea.

Three species of Echinacea are used as herbal remedies:

  • Echinacea Angustifolia – Narrow-leaf Coneflower
  • Echinacea pallida – Pale Purple Coneflower
  • Echinacea purpurea – Purple Coneflower, Eastern Purple Coneflower

Active substances in Echinacea

Echinacea has a complex mix of active substances, some of which are said to be antimicrobial, while others are believed to possibly have an effect on the human immune system.

All species of this herbal remedy have compounds called phenols. Many plants contain phenols, active substances which control the activity of a range of enzymes and cell receptors and protect the plant from infections and UV radiation damage. Phenols have high antioxidant properties, which are good for human health.

Echinacea also contains alkylamides or alkamides, (not in E. pallida), which have an effect on the immune system.

Echinacea also contains polysaccharides, glycoproteins, and caffeic acid derivatives.

How effective is Echinacea?

Several health claims and accusations of no health benefits have been made about Echinacea. The lay reader, as well as many health care professionals generally do not know how many studies there have been, which were scientifically carried out, and which claims are worth considering.

A number of studies were carried out in the mid-1990s, including randomized trials. However, they were nearly all sponsored by Echinacea manufacturers and marketers and were not considered by the scientific community as being of good quality. Most of them reported on the benefits of the herbal remedy.

Does Echinacea have any effect on catching colds or reducing symptoms of a cold?

Studies have produced conflicting results:

  • Yes – scientists from the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy reviewed over a dozen studies on the effects of Echinacea on people’s risk of catching a cold.

    They concluded that Echinacea can reduce a person’s chances of catching a cold by approximately 58%.

    They also found that the popular herbal remedy reduces the length of time a cold lasts by 1.4 days. They published their findings in The Lancet Infections Diseases (July 2007 edition).

Echinacea history

Echinacea Angustifolia was used extensively by the North American Plains Indians for general medical purposes.

In the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, Echinacea was used for treating infection with anthrax, snakebites and also as a pain reliever.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Echinacea became extremely popular in Europe and North America as a herbal medication.

Echinacea was first used as a treatment for the common cold when a Swiss supplement maker mistakenly understood that it could prevent colds, and was used for such purposes by Native American tribes in South Dakota.

Echinacea was not commonly used for the treatment or prevention of colds by Native American Indians. Some, like the Kiowa and the Cheyenne, used it for sore throats and coughs, while the Pawnee said it was effective for headaches. The Lakotah said it was an excellent painkiller.

Native Americans say that humans learned to use Echinacea by watching elk seeking out the herb and eating them whenever they were wounded or sick. They named it the “elk root”.

Uses of Echinacea

Echinacea is widely used all over the world today for a wide range of illnesses, infections, and conditions. Below is a list – apart from some studies quoted earlier on in this article, most of the benefits claimed have been anecdotal.

Echinacea is used by people today for:

Echinacea supplements and bottle
Studies have produced results as to the benefits of echinacea.
  • Acid indigestion
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Diphtheria
  • Dizziness
  • Genital herpes
  • Gum disease
  • Malaria
  • Migraines
  • Pain
  • Rattlesnake bites
  • Rheumatism
  • Septicemia – Bloodstream infections
  • Streptococcus infections
  • Syphilis
  • The flu
  • Tonsillitis
  • Typhoid
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vaginal yeast infections

Echinacea quality control

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) warns consumers about being careful regarding some Echinacea products which are on the market.

Echinacea products are commonly mislabeled; some have been tested and were found to have no Echinacea in them at all. The term “standardized” may sound impressive, but has no real meaning, the NIH emphasized.

Laboratory tests have shown that some Echinacea products are tainted with arsenic, lead or selenium.

Herbal remedies are not regulated in most countries, including the USA and UK, in the same way, medications are. This can mean that a remedy – and Echinacea is a herbal remedy – which is bought at a drugstore might not contain what the label claims.

“Natural” does not mean “harmless”

Marketers of natural products tend to promote how harmless natural products are in comparison to man-made ones. It is important to remember that all natural means is that it exists in (or is derived from) nature, “natural” does not mean that it is harmless.

The following are all “natural” plants that can cause harm:

  • Deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna) – one of the most toxic plants in the Western hemisphere. Also known as belladonna, devil’s cherry, and dwale.
  • Apple seeds – they contain small quantities of amygdalin, a cyanogenic glycoside. If you swallowed all the pips from one apple, there would not be enough poison to harm you. However, if you kept eating mouthfuls, you would eventually reach a fatal dose
  • Rhubarb – the stalks are edible, but the leaves contain oxalic acid, which can cause serious kidney disorders, convulsions, and even coma
  • Daffodil (Narcissus) – the bulbs are toxic and can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If enough is consumed it can be fatal. The stems are also toxic and can cause blurred vision, vomiting, and headaches
  • Cicuta – also known as water hemlock, cowbane or poison parsnip. A highly poisonous plant that can kill humans if consumed. It has high levels of cicutoxin, a powerful toxin.